When we think of fasting, we naturally and rightly think of abstaining from food. The purpose is not weight loss but to discipline the body for the purpose of prayer. Given the so-called busy-ness of our lives—made busy by all those leisure activities—perhaps it would be better to fast from other things in order to make time (sad way to put it, isn’t it?) for fellowship with our Father in heaven. Take a week-long fast from television (actually, just beat that idol into powder, mix it with water, drink it, and send it to the place where it belongs–Exodus 32:19-20). Take a day-long fast from the iPhone. Take a month-long fast from the Internet, Fox News, football, baseball, ESPN radio, Facebook (let’s see how many likes that gets), Twitter, Pinterest, Craigslist, texting, blogging…all for the purpose of prayer. Of course, discipline your body and deepen your dependence on God by fasting from food. Consider fasting from those time-consumers also. You may find you are not as busy as you think.
Some encouragement from Spurgeon:
“Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove: and nothing shall he impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:19-21).
And what is fasting for? That seems the difficult point. It is evidently… practiced oftentimes by our Lord, and advised by him to his disciples. Not a kind of religious observance, in itself meritorious, but a habit, when associated with the exercise of prayer, unquestionably helpful. I am not sure whether we have not lost a very great blessing in the Christian Church by giving up fasting….
Martin Luther, whose body, like some others, was of a gross tendency, felt as some of us do, that in our flesh there dwelleth no good thing, in another sense than the apostle meant it; and he used to fast frequently. He says his flesh was wont to grumble dreadfully at abstinence, but fast he would, for he found that when he was fasting, it quickened his praying. There is a treatise by an old Puritan, called, “The soul-fattening institution of fasting,” and he gives us his own experience that during a fast he has felt more intense eagerness of soul in prayer than he had ever done at any other time. Some of you, dear friends, may get to the boiling-point in prayer, without fasting. I do think that others cannot…